Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement in response to news that Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is embarking on mass program closures and layoffs as a result of the state budget impasse:

“There is no long-term gain to be found in destroying Illinois’ network of human services, yet that is exactly what is happening now. This is a disaster,” said Biss, chairman of the Illinois Senate Human Services Committee.

“Human service programs throughout the state are falling apart, and higher education is not far behind. Our focus must be on getting a budget. None of the other issues Gov. Rauner continues to bring forth – attacks on unions, workers compensation and lawsuit reform, term limits, etc. – are priorities today. Illinois needs a budget now. Without one, the state will continue to inflict harm on vulnerable residents in need of help and those who try to offer it.”

LSSI plans to close 30 programs and eliminate more than 750 positions, or 43 percent of its total workforce, it announced today. About 4,700 Illinoisans no longer will receive services from the 149-year-old organization.